Art & Science in Agriculture

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Art & Science in Agriculture

Name                    : Pantun David Mangatas Lumban Gaol
Student number    : 5510040297
Subject                 : Agriculture Extension and Technology Transfer

Art and science cannot be separated from the life of the farmer. It’s the main factor that decide whether the farm land will produce good result or not. Of course there’s a lot of developments in both of art and science from time to time. But mostly the science will develop faster than the art because every time people always try to increase their production to fulfill the market demand that always increase every year, and of course people’s necessity increase every year too.
            Talking about art and science is very interesting, it will be more understandable if you have joined the farm life and see it by your own eyes. And that’s what happened to me. I ever joined a field trip to a town named Belitang, in East Ogan Komering Ulu second district, South Sumatra province, Indonesia. This is a beautiful town where the green color dominates the view of this town, because you can see so many farm fields spread everywhere. But, before I tell more about this town especially in art and science , let me describe first the profile of this town.
This town is about 26.000 hectares. There are about 54.000 families with more than 575.410 people live in this town. This town has some facilities such as operational office, mosque, mushola (small mosque), security post, school for elementary, junior high, and senior high grade, health center, public warehouse for keeping the rice, and public cemetery. Actually, not all the people in this town is the origin people. About 60% of them are transmigrant from Java Island. The transmigration itself was held by the government of netherland in 1930 during the colonization era in Indonesia. From the observation that I did, most of the people are the third generation of the first people that were transmigated to this town.
Farmer is the main occupation in that village, while paddy is the main crop that they produce. But beside paddy, they grow another industrial and horticulture plant too such as rubber, and vegetables. Beside as the farmer, people in this town, has another occupation too, like becoming an animal farmer that grows some animals like chicken, duck, and cow. But the main one is as the paddy farmer. Because of that Belitang town known as the source of rice in the south sumatra province.
Let’s take an example, on 2010, Belitang can produce 621.309 ton dry paddy, or 401.000 ton rice, meanwhile people only need around 80.000 ton moreless to fulfill their daily necessity. From that datum, we know that Belitang has a big surplus of rice (about 390.000 ton rice). And they keep some of it for them, and sell the rest to other city and province in Indonesia. Not only that, but also the quality of the rice that they produce is good. Now the question is,”how do they can produce such a good quality of rice and in a big amount of rice?”. There are some answers of it, but the main one is that they can combine between the traditional wisdom and the modern technology to create a productive land that produce good rice. How does it work ? let’s discuss it one by one.
First, as the transmigrant people, the first generation (the first people that come) are forced to struggle in the new place that they don’t know about it. The first time they arrive, they just find an empty land with nothing in it. Then they try to explore the land, cut off all the trees, and make a small farm field that can be used to grow some crops. The first time they just grow it to fulfill their own necessity. They work hard every day, just to survive and keep feeding on their stomach so they can continue their live. Day by day, time to time, they grow bigger and the number of the new people that are born increase and need more food to feed their stomach. They think how can they fulfill all of their necessity with a small farm field ?. And finally, after pass many obstacles and handicaps, they start to expand their farm field so they can produce more food for them. They open new forest and make a new farm field. There’s no a formal law in deciding how many land that each family can open. All the decisions are taken just from the non-formal agreement that they make. Since then, the quality of their life increase from year to year and they become bigger and bigger in number of the people.
The second one, they were colonized by the netherland as the part of Indonesia. In one hand, of course they get suffering from the colonization. But on the the other hand, there are some benefits that they get indirectly from the colonization. It is the technology in every aspect including the agriculture. As the colonized people, they are forced to build some infrastructures for the importance of the netherland’s government. They build it with their own hand. They just get the command to build this one or that one. Because, they build it by their own hand, they know exactly how to build the infrastucture. And it gives them knowlegde in technology including agriculture. One of it is the irrigation to irrigate the farm field.
Belitang town is known as one of the town that has the best water management system in South Sumatera. This town is divided into some areas and villages. There is a big dam in this town called BK 0 that is used as the water source to water the entire farmland. The water in that dam flows to each village using one big water duct called BK 1-16 as the number of the villages are 16, and the water from that main water duct flows to the entire farm field through a small water duct. So there’s one big water duct for each village, and there are many small water ducts to water the farm field. To control the water that flows to each village, every water duct has a water gate, that can open and close depend on the necessity of the water. The gate will open when the the farm field lack of water and the gate will close if the the water is enough. In rainy season where the rain fall almost every day, the water gate will close because the farm field will be watered by the water from the rain. Most of the rain water will be collected in the main big dam (BK 0). And in the dry season where rain rarely happen, the water gate will be opened periodically to distribute the water to all the farmlands in each village.  In short, this water gate technology make this town will not be lack of water in any season. In rainy season, the won’t get flooded because the water will be kept in the big dam (BK 0). And in the dry season, the farm filed won’t be lack of water, because the water will be distributed.
This is the prove of a good combination between the traditional wisdom and technology. The people in that town know very well how to applicate the technology that they get from the colonization era in their own way, and they also obey to the traditional wisdom that they get from their parent. Both of this combination that finally lead them to a good town which can produce good quality of rice in big number of production.

Source : own archives
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